SPOTLIGHT ON: The Venerable Randi Rae

by Betsy Fischer, M.Ed.

“You have GOT to come and see this woman. Her name is Randi Rae, and she’s incredible! They call her the ‘Mitzvah Maven!’”

This was the advice I received from my DJ friend Rick Goldenberg back in 1997, when I was first beginning to expand my business from teaching dance into entertaining at parties. “She’ll give you all the latest dances and games, and you’ve got to go!!”

And so that was my first introduction to the indefatigable Randi Rae! I’ve attended many of her seminars over the years – Mitzvah 101, Games and Dances, Marketing, Mitzvah 501, The Mock-Mitzvah, etc, etc.

She’s a Rock Star of DJs

Randi struck me as a combination of several elements – part Energizer Bunny, part Barbra Streisand (have you seen those nails?) part spark-plug, part Bette Midler! Randi’s seminars were standing-room only and always jam-packed with information for any professional looking to break into the Mitzvah market or for seasoned entertainers looking to improve their performances.

Although the information that Randi shared was so valuable, her energy and enthusiasm were boundless, and she walked around the Expos with rock-star status. There was still something else that impressed me more about Randi. It was (and still is) her willingness to share with others.

Randi Has Raised the Bar in Our Industry

I’ve been in this industry a long time, and know of many entertainers who would much rather keep their dances, games, and advertising strategies a secret and not show any of their competitors what they do. Not Randi. She works very hard at educating EVERYONE and raising the bar for the entire DJ Industry.

I asked Randi what motivates her to share with us like she does. What fuels her willingness to be so open and giving? Why would anyone be crazy enough to give out her phone number to a packed house and actually say, “Call me if you have any more questions!!!?”

“Teaching other DJs helps to keep me fresh and on my toes.”

Randi truly loves to teach, and really wants people to LEARN! She especially wants to educate DJs so that ALL of us benefit. She talked about DJs who, for example, show up late to a venue or leave the place a mess when they are finished w/ their gig. Not only does behavior like that ruin the reputation of that particular DJ, but it hurts all of us in the industry as well. Perhaps that particular hall will start charging DJs in the future for load-in fees or security deposits to entertain in the room. And that isn’t good for anyone. She explains that in order to keep the industry viable and respectable, we need to lift the standards together.

Naturally, Randi loves to be in front of an audience, and speaking and motivating fellow DJs energizes her.

A Woman of Passion and Action

Randi is also passionate about her work. She has been in the entertainment industry for 30 years, and her company continues to grow and evolve to this day. After studying at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, Randi got a job in promotional advertising. She worked for New Jersey Living Magazine, where her responsibilities included coordinating events and advertising for clubs and restaurants throughout the state. She developed theme parties and events, and began MCing different contests like “Best Butt”, “Best Legs” and “Flash Dance” contests. She even ran teen discos on Sunday afternoons, where she hosted breakdance contests for the kids.

Randi met a DJ and they formed a partnership – he was the DJ and she the MC. This led to what was at first a hobby, but she quickly realized she could make good money. “And before you know it, it was my life!” Randi Rae Entertainment has been in business since 1980, and Randi has worked as a full time DJ ever since. Her business has grown to include party and event planning, and her newest venture, which is providing entertainment for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and special needs schools.

Why She’s Booked Solid

In the current economy where everyone is cutting back and DJs are feeling the pinch, Randi has found a way to take advantage of her off-peak hours during the week and make some money. While it’s not necessarily DJ MONEY as she puts it, it is still more money, more fun, and much more rewarding than any 9-5 desk job could be.

Randi has developed a variety of programs for both the senior and special needs audiences. These include “Chair-Dancing,” “Seniorcise,” theme parties and games she plays with her clientele, such as “Family Feud,” “Match Game,” “Jeopardy, ” and her signature game, “Musical Bingo.” Basically she creates a “mini wild party and wakes everyone up!”

This part of her business has grown tremendously, and the rest of 2010 is virtually booked solid. She gets her bookings completely through word-of-mouth, and the best part about working at these venues is the leads she gets for full-service DJ gigs. She is able to book parties for nurses and other staff members working at these facilities, as well as from the family and friends of the residents who come to Randi’s events. As she describes it, she is basically getting paid to do her own advertising!!

Randi’s Here to Assist You

Naturally, Randi is more than willing to share her expertise and information about how to enter into this market. She has already taken many DJs from around the country with her to introduce them to this type of work. In the true spirit of giving and sharing Randi is happy to take anyone who wants to learn. And, she is more than willing to offer a seminar on this type of entertainment. Just pick up the phone and call her. Here’s her number: 732-346-1466!!!

Betsy Fischer, M.Ed. – “Girls with Gigs”

Betsy Fischer, M.Ed. is a DJ, Event Planner, Dance and Zumba Instructor, Choreographer and Entrepreneur. She is the 2010 winner of the “Best New Dance” and runner up “Entertainer of the Year” at the “DJ of the Year” competition held at the International DJ Expo. She is the proud owner/operator of Betsy Fischer’s Groove Lounge, a dance and party venue located in southern NJ. Her mobile DJ business, Party Dancing with Betsy Fischer, LLC, entertains at a variety of events throughout NJ and PA. Betsy is a member of NJDJN and NAME. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and is a NJ State Certified Elementary Teacher and a Teacher of the Handicapped. Betsy received her Master’s Degree from Temple University, where her studies focused on including handicapped children in the performing arts. Betsy’s website is GrooveLounge.net and you can email her at Betsy@GrooveLounge.net.

Top Photo Courtesy of DJ Times magazine

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